I’m plenty-busy here in Seattle for Microsoft Build, but I wanted to at least provide a quick rundown of today’s Google I/O announcements. If I can, I will expand on some of these items later in the week.
Google finally gets privacy. Spurred by antitrust action around the globe, Google is finally getting serious about privacy and is expanding its end-user privacy tools and making them more discoverable as a result. It will let you auto-delete web and app activity from your Google account on a schedule and will soon do so for location history too. Finally, the incognito feature from Chrome is coming to more Google apps, including Maps and Search. Learn more here.
Chrome cookie control improvements. Chrome will add improved visibility into how sites are using cookies and could be tracking users. And it will provide controls that allow users to clear cookies that are used across sites. This way, cookies can still be used to preserve logins but not to track them when they go elsewhere. Learn more here.
Search improvements. Google’s core Search service is picking up the Full Coverage feature from News so that you can learn more about topics in results. It is also getting AR capabilities so that you can view products you’re searching for in the real world. (For example, how a pair of shoes might look with clothes you already own.) And Google Duplex support will help you get more done, starting with car rentals and movie ticket purchasing. Learn more here.
Google Assistant improvements. Google is bringing more and more Assistant capabilities directly on-device, which will help answer questions up to 10 times faster. Improved personalization functionality will bring more useful suggestions, including recipes, events, and podcasts. A new driving mode will help you access the Assistant while using Maps or Waze. And you’ll be able to turn off alarms and timers with your voice. Learn more here.
Nest is Google’s helpful home brand. Many, myself included, figured that Google was going to kill the Nest brand when they brought it in-house to its Home group. Instead, Google is killing Home and will now use Nest as its helpful home brand. Learn more here. A new Google Nest Hub Max fixes all the problems with the Google Home Hub, thanks to its camera and larger screen. Learn more here.
Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Google now has more affordable handsets that offer most of the features from its too-expensive flagships. I wrote about that earlier today.
Google Lens improvements. Google Lens is being updated so that you can look at menus in restaurants and highlight the most popular dishes. Google Lens is also coming to Google Go. Learn more here.
New accessibility features. Google showed off some tear-inducing new accessibility features at its I/O keynote, including an AI-based method for transcribing spoken words for those with speech difficulties. Learn more here. And a new Live Relay feature for the Phone app on Pixel handsets uses on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion to allow the phone to listen and speak on the users’ behalf while they type. Learn more here.
I’m sure there’s more. But I’ll be looking more closely at Google’s announcements, and rewatching the Google I/O keynote again when possible.